Student Union candidates prepare for spring election
In Thursday’s Student Union elections, 17 candidates will face off for 10 open seats across the Senate, Allocations Board, Judiciary and Undergraduate Curriculum Committee.
This week, the candidates spoke to the Justice about their goals for office and the issues they feel are most important to students in this round of elections.
Shangyuan (Gloria) Xu ’21
New to campus this semester, Xu is running unopposed for midyear senator. She previously served as a treasurer for her student body government in high school. “During that year, I learned many skills about communicating and understand[ing] other students,” she said in a statement to the Justice.
If elected to the position, Xu hopes to help fellow midyears make the transition to campus life.
George Li ’21
Li is running for the one open three-semester Allocations Board seat. Because he was involved in several clubs in high school, Li explained, he “understand[s] what a club needs when it comes to funding.”
“I also understand that clubs make up a big portion of campus activities,” he added. “Therefore, it’s important to have a strong voice and advocacy for clubs.”
Rebecca Shaar ’21
Like Li, Shaar is also running for the three-semester Allocations Board seat. On campus, Shaar is involved in TAMID, a student organization that focuses on finance and consulting.
“This position on the Allocations Board lines up perfectly with my interests, and I am incredibly motivated to be both fair and as generous as possible in distributing funds between clubs at Brandeis,” she told the Justice.
Yijin (Bella) Lu ’20
Lu is running for one of the two open two-semester Allocations Board seats.
As an executive board member of the Brandeis Chinese Cultural Connection, Lu has managed the club’s Facebook page and has coordinated with local universities. She explained that these roles helped her gain the communication and organization skills needed for the Allocations Board.
If elected, Lu said that she looks forward to speaking with students and ensuring that clubs get the funding they need. “I am passionate about this job because I hope that popular activities can get more expenses from [the] school so that their events could be enriched to become more sparkling,” she said. “At the same time, I am eager to communicate with our student body to learn their ideas, needs and concerns.”
Zhixin (Sissel) Tan ’21
Like Lu, Tan is also running for one of the two open two-semester Allocations Board seats. Tan is on the executive boards of BC3 and the Brandeis chapter of Global China Connection, positions that helped her gain management skills and taught her the importance of funding, she said.
These experiences showed her the significance of the Allocations Board, which she called the “pillar” behind student clubs and organizations. “I therefore want to dedicate myself in this ‘behind hand’ and help to allocate funds to those activities that we [are] passionate about,” she said, adding, “I will ensure all the clubs get the maximum fundings so each activity will be at its peak potential.”
Alan Huang ’21
Huang, a member of the Climbing Team, Men’s Volleyball Team and Co-ed Volleyball Team, is also running for one of the two-semester A-Board seats. Huang is an Eagle scout and was also active in student government in high school, where he served as class treasurer.
In a statement to the Justice, Huang explained that he is interested in the Allocations Board because of its role in the Brandeis community. “As an active member in multiple sports clubs, as well as a frequent visitor of many other clubs’ activities, … I have experienced how impactful and essential clubs are to student life at Brandeis,” he said, adding that an accessible A-Board is important for the community.
If elected, Huang seeks to ensure equitable distribution of funds. “Whether it be a club that has been around for years or a start-up club, I believe each club should be given an equal opportunity to extend college life outside the classroom to best benefit the student body,” he explained.
Andrews Figueroa ’19
Figueroa, who recently finished a three-semester term on the Allocations Board, is also a candidate for the two open two-semester seats.
“I was previously elected because members of the Brandeis community believed in my ability to make efficient and equitable decisions on their behalf, and it would be an honor to continue that mission,” Figueroa said in a statement to the Justice. “If elected, I will work with my constituents to streamline the funding process, provide individualized support to new clubs, and increase club attendance through the implementation of a club-event calendar.”
Anisha Purohit ’21
Purohit is one of three candidates running for the two-semester racial minority A-Board seat. In a statement to the Justice, Purohit cited as qualifications her past experience in finance management and her “desire to help fund meaningful events that make your college experience the best it can be.”
Her goals for office include ensuring that necessary funds are allocated to allow for bigger and better student events, promoting diversity on campus and hearing feedback from students.
“As a first-year, Brandeis has opened my eyes to the importance of diversity, equality and inclusion. From its resources at the Intercultural Center to the importance placed on cultural clubs and events, Brandeis’ values align with my own,” she explained. “However, I still believe we have room for improvement.”
Shiyi (Wendy) Mao ’21
Like Purohit, Mao is also running for the two-semester racial minority seat.
In a statement to the Justice, Mao explained that she understands how it feels to be misunderstood and unheard. “Therefore, I always strive for trying my best to represent minority groups and finding the best outcomes for them,” she said. Mao was inspired to help racial minorities be heard after she needed to miss a class due to a holiday and was told by a teacher that it would not count as an excused absence because the holiday was not a mainstream one. She petitioned school officials, made presentations and spread awareness about the holiday to change the situation.
She also served as treasurer on her student council in high school and told the Justice that, if elected, she will work with clubs to solve problems and ensure that funding is not a barrier to club programming and exploration of interests.
Rolonda Donelson ’20
Donelson is one of four candidates running for three open associate justice Judiciary seats.
If elected, Donelson seeks to “issue impartial judgment with consideration of all facts involved in any case laid before me as an Associate Justice. If elected, I intend to bring a fresh perspective to the Judiciary in the settling of cases and through the interpretation of the Student Union Constitution as a consultant to other branches of the Union,” she said in a statement to the Justice.She explained that she wishes to promote equity in the Brandeis community, adding, “I believe I am a good candidate because I am dedicated to helping to issue rulings that are equal for all parties involved.”
Leo Passman ’21
Like Donelson, Passman is running for one of the three Judiciary seats.
“Being an associate justice to the judiciary would mean that I have the power to make honorable decisions about Brandeis constitutional law. I had experience writing briefs and opinions regarding US constitutional law before starting school here, but my opinions never actually held weight, so it will be rewarding to experience making decisions that can help our community in one way or another,” he said in a statement to the Justice.
Wenjing (Winnie) Qin ’21
Qin is also running for one of the associate justice positions. As a high schooler, she sat on her school’s honor council, which handled campus disputes in a method similar to the Union Judiciary.
“I really love rules. Rules are really important to me. … I really want to take a Legal Studies minor, because I love system, law and constitution,” she said, adding, “I believe in them, I have very strong faith in them.” If elected, Qin hopes to bring in more of an international student perspective and wants to introduce more diversity to the Judiciary in hopes that it will become better known and utilized.
In addition to participating in the Brandeis Academic Debate And Speech Society, Qin is also the social media chair for the Vietnamese Student Association. Her personality “is pretty serious and rational and logical — my friends would describe me using those words,” she explained, adding, “If dispute happens, I try to really know what’s going on. Based on that, I try to come up with the best solutions.”
Yale Sussman ’21
Sussman is one of four candidates running for the open Judiciary seats. As someone who is involved in many clubs, Sussman explained in a statement to the Justice that his familiar face will help him succeed as an associate justice.
“A hallmark aspect of the judiciary is being impartial and open to new ideas: these are qualities I will bring with me,” he added.
Zhenping (Umans) You ’19
You is one of two candidates running for the open Undergraduate Curriculum Committee seat.
In a statement to the Justice, You said that, if elected, he looks forward to representing students and listening to their expectations and concerns. “As a transfer student with three majors, I’ve set my foot in various fields and been well-informed about students’ needs and what makes a university curriculum advantageous,” he said. “I believe that the course curriculums should be there to equip students with the necessary knowledge to be successful, and, more importantly, give them the freedom to explore their area of interest as they wish.”
Also running are Kaixuan (Kayson) Ding ’21 for the three-semester Allocations Board seat, Daniel Kang ’19 for the two-semester racial minority Allocations Board seat, and Shijie (Jeremy) Xiao ’19 for the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee seat. Ding, Kang and Xiao did not return requests for comment as of press time. There are no declared candidates running for the Ziv Quad Senate seat in this election.
Voting will open at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday and will run for 24 hours. Ballots will be sent to students via email, and the Student Union will also have voting stations in the Shapiro Campus Center and Usdan Student Center.
—Michelle Dang ’18 contributed reporting.
Editor's note: Wenjing (Winnie) Qin ’21 is a Justice Layout Staff.